Void vote on mi­grants deals blow to Hun­gary’s anti-EU re­volt

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BU­DAPEST: Hun­gary’s pop­ulist Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban suf­fered a blow on Sun­day in his re­volt against the Euro­pean Union after low voter turnout voided his ref­er­en­dum aimed at re­ject­ing a con­tested mi­grant quota plan.

Although a whop­ping 99.8% of vot­ers backed his bid to re­ject the pro­posal, over­all turnout fell well short of a 50% thresh­old.

Only 3.3 mil­lion of the eight-mil­lion­strong elec­torate cast a valid vote, and the Na­tional Elec­tion Com­mit­tee de­clared the ref­er­en­dum void after count­ing the bal­lots.

Op­po­si­tion fig­ures swiftly called on Or­ban to step down over the vote, after rights groups had ac­cused him of whip­ping up anti-mi­grant fears de­spite there be­ing only a few hun­dred asy­lum seek­ers in Hun­gary.

But the fire­brand leader down­played the sig­nif­i­cance of the low turnout and vowed there would be “le­gal con­se­quences” re­gard­less.

“Brus­sels or Bu­dapest, that was the ques­tion, and the peo­ple said Bu­dapest,” the prime min­is­ter de­fi­antly told sup­port­ers gath­ered in the cap­i­tal on Sun­day evening.

“I will pro­pose to change the con­sti­tu­tion (which) shall re­flect the will of the peo­ple. We will make Brus­sels un­der­stand that it can­not ig­nore the will of Hun­gar­ian vot­ers.”

Or­ban did not re­veal fur­ther de­tails of the pro­posed amend­ment.

“It looks like (Or­ban) wants to con­tinue his fight with the EU on its mi­gra­tion pol­icy, and the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment is his way of do­ing that as it might trig­ger le­gal fights” with Brus­sels, an­a­lyst Bulcsu Hun­yadi said. – AFP

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